Arkansas, you might be off the hook for allowing Ohio State to beat an SEC team.
According to a Yahoo! Sports report by Charles Robinson (who helped break the Reggie Bush scandal) and Dan Wetzel, Jim Tressel knew about his five players' sales of memorabilia to a Columbus tattoo parlor eight months before Ohio State reported the violations to the NCAA. The players included offensive stars Terrelle Pryor and Dan Herron. Notably, the report implies that he never reported violation either as it was a federal investigation into the tattoo parlor that brought the violations to the attention of the school.
Ohio State officials and Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany pleaded for leniency in the penalties and got it with the five players not having to begin their five-game suspensions until after the Sugar Bowl. Part of that ruling was based on the information from the school that no one knew about the sales until early December.
If true, the allegations go squarely against Tressel's image of being a buttoned up, by-the-book type. After all, the cynics scoffed at his announcement that the five players would have to pledge to return to school in order to play in the bowl. Yet all five did indeed forgo the NFL Draft to come back to school and serve their time. Plus, he's earned the nickname "The Senator" for his conservative dress, manner, and style of coaching.
Then again, Ohio State was the most prolific generator of secondary violations among the 69 schools that the Columbus Dispatch studied in a published report from May of 2009 that reached back to 2000. The Buckeyes' athletics program as a whole racked up 375 in that span, and Tressel was around for all but one year of it.
The worst-case scenario for Ohio State would be vacating all of its wins from the 2010 season, probation, scholarship reductions, and a coach without a contract. After all, Tressel's deal can be voided if it is proven that he failed to inform the athletic department of any violations. Ohio State could choose to go the route of Tennessee with Bruce Pearl, where the coach's contract is voided but he still works for the university anyway. Tressel's probably won enough at Ohio State to get such treatment if the school is willing to go for it.
Ultimately, this just continues the season of scandal that college football has been going through nonstop since last summer. The worst part is that it has no real end in sight.